Photo editing app company BeFunky set out to grow its team and ended up hiring a predominately female team.
Derric Hoffman, product manager at BeFunky, spoke to Computer Weekly about how the company transformed – from an all-male team to a team mostly comprising women. Hoffman said the BeFunky team had grown from three men, to six women and four men in the last eight months.
He said the move had not been intentional: "We didn't set out to hire more women. We wanted to hire the best talent we could find," said Hoffman.
To date BeFunky has over 25 million app installs and over 10 million active users.
The company was founded in Turkey before moving to San Francisco in 2011. In August 2014, BeFunky moved to Portland, Oregon.
BeFunky's female staffers work in all fields, including development, marketing and graphic design. The team is also ethnically diverse, speaking over five languages.
Hoffman said: “We look for people that are not necessarily rock stars or star players, but have an eye for what coincides with our vision. When we hired our user interface designer, we didn’t tell candidates what to design but let them design it themselves.
Read more about women in IT
- Inspirational female leaders offered their advice to women in technology at a We Are The City event recently.
- Over half of women in IT believe females do not occupy enough senior positions, O2 research finds.
- Record number of women in employment but women still underrepresented in IT, science and engineering.
Staff connects with female user base
“Rouli we hired for that design role, for what we wanted to do next. She came from a company buried in bureaucracy and she is doing fantastic here. It is more creative and refreshing to work in a small team and you feel more valued.”
He said having women on the team means staff are more connected with their users, who are predominately female: “They can see our user a bit better and create the right tools for them. A lot more thought goes into things. Missing a deadline is not always a bad thing when something needs to be perfect when released to the public.”
The present staff come from a variety of backgrounds including computer science, business management and food blogging.
Hoffman himself came from a background in social media for radio and now oversees the launch implementation process at BeFunky.
Creating roles to retain talent
“We haven’t done anything specific to attract more females. For the user interface designer and web developer positions mostly males applied, but we hired two women in the end," said Hoffman.
“The community manager role was a 50/50 split on applicants and we went with a female in the end as she had a good knack for communication. The office manager we had one male apply, out of about 30 people.”
Recognising some of the women applying for roles were talented but not suited to the job advertised, Hoffman said the company quickly realised it needed to find positions for certain candidates: “One girl we saw was really good at art and we were blown away, so we created a designer role for her.”
Tekin Tatar, CEO of BeFunky, said he believed team diversity helps the company approach challenges from differing views and experiences: “Through this interaction at BeFunky, innovative ideas and processes are derived for the same old challenges and questions.
“On the other hand, our user base is diverse – we need diversity in our team, so we can learn from our own diversity how to meet the needs of our users."